Step up and BE YOU…..
Twenty years ago, my mode of communication to call up and down the coast of the Mexican Caribbean was a marine radio. There were no phones. I drove to people’s houses if I wanted to talk to them and we had conversations because we had not seen each other in days, weeks or sometimes months. I left notes on the door if no one was home. Once a month, I made a collect call to the good ol’ US of A to let my parents know I was still alive.
Three years later, I stood huddled around a CRT screen at a “caseta” (a room with public phones) watching the internet immerge and I remember how amazed I was at how the green characters on the screen almost suddenly appeared on another computer as an “email”. This new thing called the internet made electronic messaging, information and business all happen for me. I learned to write web pages to give information to people about this area I loved, the Riviera Maya. It started as a hand full of web pages and daily emails, driving to Tulum each day to connect to a blessed phone line.
At lightning speed, a few web pages turned into hundreds and I spent my days answering people’s questions and connecting with them. A world of communication that spanned the globe allowed all of us to touch one another.
Communication now is a status update on Facebook, 140 characters on twitter, text messages by phone, no need to hear a voice or be heard. We send out messages that many can see, but is anyone listening?
My profession is communications, yet I can sometimes feel alone in this connected world as perhaps others do. The geek in me loves the speed, ease and technology of communication. However, what I am trying to do now, when I do connect with someone (especially if it is face to face) is to be present and look at them in the eyes and smile from my heart.
I have used the electronic gadgets as my shield to protect myself from allowing people to get too close.
Yet ironically, I want nothing more than to be able to be authentic, open and truly be me around others.
My question to you….are the messages that you’re sending just part of the millions of other messages floating around in an electronic sea in hopes of making a connection with someone?
I was recently on a flight and saw the movie A Thousand Words, it was funny and introspective at the same time.
I did not expect introspection from Eddie Murphy.
The premise of the movie (spoiler alert) is that Eddie Murphy’s character has 1000 words left and when he reached this quota, he will die.
There is an outer manifestation of this which is a tree in his back yard that loses a leaf with every word he speaks.
He loses three words (and three leaves) if he says “I love you.”
This becomes very problematic not only at work, but with his wife, to whom he cannot express his love because he does not want to die.
If he writes a word, the leaves also fall.
Ok, so it’s a movie and it all works out in the end!
BUT, what if it could be true?
Do you know how many words you have left?
This of course presupposes that you know how many years you have and you know how many words you will speak each day.
A daunting mathematical problem!
How many years do I have left?
I know not.
I have this moment.
What I choose to say in this moment can be uplifting or off putting.
It can be humorous or humorless.
It can be stated without judgment or it can be accusatory.
I can whisper or shout.
I have a plethora of choices.
How do I decide?
I have to KNOW who I am and how I want to show up in the world.
I have to know ME!
I have to be true to me.
I have to fight the lethargy that comes with everyday living and the urge to be “fed up” with knowing myself. I have to be ON.
That takes at first a conscious decision to be true to me, then it becomes like breathing.
It becomes a living testament to the William Shakespeare quote “to thine own self be true.”
I must live, To MY own self be true.
I recently had someone forward me a text that they received from another person.
This person just sent the text. They did not say what they wanted me to do with it.
I had to wonder, what should I do here? Should I ignore it, therefore ignore the person who sent it to me?
Should I comment?
I chose to comment, but with humor.
Why? Because I have chosen to try and find the lesson or the humor in my experiences.
How did the recipient take it? I do not know!
What did I accomplish?
Only being true to “MY OWN SELF.”
It’s a long and winding road, indeed.
Love & light,
Is school making your child crazy?
“The purpose of school should be to prepare kids for the rest of their lives, but too often what kids need to be prepared for is surviving the school day itself.” Susan Cain, QUIET
For the parent of a child who is being bullied, the above quote must be especially poignant…that is, if you are lucky enough to be told that they are being bullied. This blog is not about bullying but about being SHY and being ashamed of being shy.
Dr. Brene Brown tells us that shame says “I am bad.”
If a child has learned to be ashamed of being shy and is cajoled or taunted to be more outgoing, this child may feel that being shy is so bad that their existence is useless.
I feel that many shy children feel invisible. They know they have the right answers, but are afraid to put their hands up and speak out loud in the classroom. They cannot get full marks on any report card because a grade is being given for “class participation”. Many want to participate and when they work one-on-one they can have exciting
conversations, but in a group they freeze.
Telling this child to be something other than what they really are will not make them change. As parents and educators we have to learn how to work with the introversion so that the child can feel pride about their ability to be reflective, and introspective. We have to show them that their minds works differently and beautifully and show them how to find ways to be a part of the group, but in a way that feels safe to them.
“The truth is that many schools are designed for extroverts,” says Susan Cain.
So what do we do as parents and advocates for our introverted kids?
“When encouraging shy children to speak…it helps to make the topic so compelling that they forget their inhibitions.”
As parents and educators we can take sincere interests in the activities of the introverted child and use the love of those activities to encourage them to talk.
During the summer months, while kids are out if school, the time is right to begin the project of speaking up and out in the safety of one’s home.
These skills are important, if only to be able to tell others to stop bullying them. Being able to speak up for ones emotional health is skill that we must teach our children. They are the future leaders.
In the May 21st, 2012 issue of Fortune Magazine, Doug Conant, the former Campbell Soup CEO gives some great advice.
1. “Don’t change who you are…people are not mind readers- you need to let them know if you are shy.”
2. “Say what’s on your mind…I’ve met so many leaders who realize that telling your colleagues something that is on your mind is so much easier than keeping it in.”
3. “Know who you work with…You might just find that you have introverts embedded within your organization who are natural-born leaders.”
4. “Find alone time…Introverts get more energy by having quiet time, compared with extroverts who find energy by being around people.”
This advice from Mr. Conant shows that introverts in the work force have a lot to contribute, and as parents/educators of these future leaders we owe it to them to prepare them for their whole lives…a life full of other people and challenges beyond those of childhood.
I hope you take up this project, it is well worth it.
Love and light,